Monthly Archives: November 2013

Military 20131Many men and women have served in the military over the centuries, since the United States became a nation, and in the years that we fought for our independence. The weapons they used are as varied as they are, but no less deadly to the enemy. Their uniforms are different, and some may seem very strange to us, but each is easily recognizable as a military uniform, and you knew that they had served their country. Each has made the sacrifice…leaving loved ones behind at home, to go off and fight in a battle that in many cases didn’t seem like it was their own, yet they had to go, because they couldn’t leave those oppressed people to battle on their own, because they knew it was a battle they could not win alone. They went, because it was a matter of duty. It was a duty they could not ignore…their hearts would not let them ignore.

Today’s military is not a required job, there is no draft, although there could be if it became necessary, and our young men are required to register for the draft when they turn eighteen, just in case a draft became necessary. Nevertheless, today’s military men and women choose to take on the causes of a war ridden world, because they can’t bear to leave a people or nations unprotected. That takes a special kind of person…that one who puts themselves in harm’s way…by choice. They are a person to be admired and respected. I don’t say that those who do not join have done anything wrong, because they have not, but like the police officer, EMT, and fire fighter, this unique group of men and women have taken up a cause, and made it their own.

My dad, and many of my aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and cousins fall into that category of military personnel, and I am proud of each and every one of them for all they have done to make this world a little bit safer place. Their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, nor will it ever be forgotten. Today, I want to thank all veterans everywhere, living and dead, for the sacrifice you have made to give me and all other Americans the freedoms that we enjoy, and to make this world a little bit safer for all the people who live in it. I know I can’t picture all of you, as you so richly deserve, but know that you are remembered, whether you are pictured here or not. Thank you all for your service!!  God bless each and every one of you!!

Jacob's tentJacob, the son of my cousin, Denise DeVogel, who I recently met on Facebook, got busy the other day and in his play, he reminded many of the rest of us in the family about the fun things many of us did as kids. Jacob pushed the couch and chair in his mom’s living room together, covered them with a blanket, and…presto, he had a private little tent to camp out in. He has spent the last couple of days having a great time in that little tent. And his mom, Denise has had such a good time watching him have such a good time.

Looking at the picture she posted on Facebook, took me back to my own childhood, and the many tents my sisters and I made. We had such good times playing in the little shelter that the tent provided. Not that we needed shelter, but more a secret little place to hold our meetings, play games, have snacks, and pretend to go to sleep…not that any sleeping happened, unless we planned to camp out for the night like it seems was Jacob’s plan to do. The things that went on in those tents, were such a big deal when we were kids, and I suppose that everyone’s games were a little different, but we all thought that our little club meetings were a total mystery to our parents, not ever realizing that our parents were little kids once too, and they probably played many of the same games you did.

And it wasn’t just me who took a trip down memory lane while looking at the pictures of Jacob Home Sweet Homein his tent, because Denise’s friend, Karen commented, “How fun!! I remember doing that!!” Her words were exactly the ones that would have come out of my mouth, had she not beat me to it. It’s pictures like these that remind you of all the good things that define childhood. It’s the freedom to be creative, inventive, and yet silly, all rolled into one little person, that makes the whole scene so fun to watch. It makes me want to be a kid again…well, maybe not, but I could be a kid again for a day or maybe a week, so I could build a tent in the living room, and hold the little club meetings, or read a book, or camp out, and then I could step back into reality again, and take with me the little vacation memories I had in the tent in the living room. Thanks for the memories Jacob!!

Aunt Evelyn's Graduation picture_editedTo live a long life…it’s something that eludes many people. Even those who live to retirement doesn’t guarantee that a person will with well into their eighties or into their nineties, but for Aunt Evelyn, as with several others in my family on both sides, longevity seems to run in the family. I’m glad for her and for us that it does, because that means we get to have her and some of the other family members around longer.

Aunt Evelyn is the oldest of my mom’s siblings, which would mean that she played the biggest part in helping to raise her younger siblings. I suppose there were times when the others felt like she was pretty bossy, but the reality is that the oldest child usually gets dubbed with that title, whether they truly are or not. It comes with the territory. It seems like girls often get the title more than boys too, because they do have that mother instinct. Nevertheless, a big sister can be a good thing to have, as I can clearly attest.

Aunt Evelyn has always been a social person, and participated in several clubs as a young Aunt Evelynlady. She is also very good at planning the family get togethers, for her family as well as the whole family…such as out family Christmas party, which is coming up quickly. She and her five children’s families work very hard to make the party great when it is their turn to host it, and even when they aren’t hosting, they are among the first to start helping with the cleanup. Good training, I guess.

Today is a milestone day in Aunt Evelyn’s life, as she turns 85 today. Her health is great, and she is still quite active, so I am confident that she will be with us for quite a while. Happy birthday Aunt Evelyn!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

Baking House on Schulenberg farm in 1628Most of us can trace our roots back to certain people and even certain regions, but not everyone can trace their roots back to a certain house that our ancestor owned in 1628. I can’t say if Johann Schulenberg built the home on the farm, as did my ancestor in the case of, my cousin Princess Diana’s family’s home, Althorpe in England, which has been owned by her family since it was built by Robert Spencer the 2nd Earl of Sunderland in 1688.

The Schulenberg family owned a large farm near Schorlingborstel, Bassum, Germany. When I say a large farm, I mean that the land they owned was bigger than many of the surrounding towns at that time in history, and probably many still today. I’m not sure what they have Firehouse on Schulenberg Farmfarmed over the years, but I do know that the farm was large enough to need its own Firehouse. I also know over the centuries, the buildings have been so well kept that they are still in use today, and look fantastic.

It is very strange to think about the fact that over the years, many of our family’s Schulenberg ancestors have lived in those buildings, and worked in those fields. The farm has a large barn and a garage for the farm equipment, as well as a bakery, which I found strange, but I’m sure it was necessary at that time. My guess would also be that there were a number of servants and hired hands over the centuries, so the bakery was probably very busy keeping the household and all the workers in bread. I have to think that the Schulenberg farm was a very large operation. I would love to have seen it Barn on Schulenberg farmwhen it was in full swing back then.

I don’t know if the farm is used for farming today or if it is simply a very large estate home, but it is still in beautiful condition, and I really like the traditional German design of the siding on the buildings. I also don’t know if the family that lives there now are related for sure or not, but I can say that they have a home that is filled with so much of the history of days gone by. It seems to me, that all that history would literally emanate the property, but maybe that’s just me.

scan0178Bob’s Uncle Eddie is the fourth child of his Grandma Hein. He is Bob’s dad’s younger brother. Eddie is the kind of person you can always count on to help you if you need it. When my father-in-law was building his house, Eddie even took a vacation to come and help him work on it. Most people really don’t like working vacations, although many of us have taken them. I suppose that like many of us who have taken working vacations, Eddie wanted to help, and so was willing to sacrifice his own down time to make life easier for someone else. Really though, that is just how Eddie is. He has always been a hard worker, and has always been willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need…not just family. And Walt & EddieEddie is very handy too. He has done quite a bit of building on his own property, so he knows the ropes, and is a really good man to have on the job…especially since most of the help my father-in-law had was his kids, his son-in-law, Lynn, and his daughter-in-law…me. None of us had ever done much building, so we were kind of like the little kid trying to be a great assistant, and mostly getting in the way. Well, maybe not as bad as all that, but not the kind of real help my father-in-law really needed either.

Now, don’t get the idea that Eddie is all work and no play, because you would be wrong. Eddie has a great laugh, and he We can fix that right nowuses it often. He loves to joke around, and loves to tease his nieces and nephews. Bob was one who got to get in on that teasing whenever he was in Forsyth, Montana, where Eddie lives. Bob especially got teased as a teenager, because like most teenagers, he liked to have his hair long. Well, of course, his parents hated that, and his Uncle Eddie tried to be helpful, by offering to shave Bob’s head. He wouldn’t have really done it, and Bob knew that. They were just playing, but it’s hard not to cringe just a little…even if you knew they wouldn’t do it. I guess it’s a good thing for Bob, that his uncle liked him. Today is Eddie’s birthday. Happy birthday Eddie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

CorrieWhen kids are small, they are happy with a penny or a nickel, because they don’t know that these coins are not really worth very much in today’s world. All they know is that with that penny or nickel, they can go to a gumball machine and buy a piece of gum, and after all, isn’t that sort of thing the extent of their buying world at that early age.

Like all kids their age, Corrie and Amy loved getting money, in the form of coins, for their piggy banks and to put in the gumball machines. They learned quickly that those little pieces of metal were of great value, and they asked for them often. Sometimes they even found money on the ground, as we all have, and then you really got to see the excitement in their eyes, and hear it in their voices. It’s funny that as time goes by, we find ourselves leaving coins on the ground where we see them, because we now understand that they are not really very valuable. My girls were living in that special time, when coins still had value.

That childlike valuation of money was never made more clear to me that it was one day when my girls and I were at home, and they were about 3 and 2 years of age. The girls were playing with their toys in the living room, as I was cleaning the house. I had been back in the bedrooms. I brought out some trash to throw in the trash can under the sink in the kitchen. As I went to throw the trash away, something caught my eye in the trash can. I really have no idea why I even glanced into the trash can that day. It was not something I would normally have done. Nevertheless, I did glance down and then looked again…more carefully. Inside the trash can, I saw one hundred dollars, in twenty dollar bills. I was totally shocked.

I turned to see the girls with some coins in their hands. They had gone into my purse and taken out the money they thought was valuable, and then decided to help their mommy When Amy got madclean out her purse, by throwing away the useless paper that was in the wallet. In doing so, they had thrown away the hundred dollars that was in my wallet. It would have been lost, had it not been for the glance into the trash can, that I uncharacteristically made. I can’t say for sure if it was both of my girls who got the idea to get the money, or just Corrie, who the would have shared her take with her sister. I just know that I was thankful that I had looked into the trash can, and indeed, I looked as I threw things away for a number of years after that too, because I knew then, full well that when it came to the value of money, my little girls and I clearly had different ideas.


Gene FredrickThat first grandchild is such a unique event in the life of a grandparent. For years their family has had grown children in it, but no babies. Then comes that day that will take the family into a new era. The kids become aunts, uncles, and parents; and the parents become grandparents.  The funny thing is that no one seems to mind this drastic change that one would think feels like aging. The reason is quite simple…a precious new life has arrived, and that is what really matters. It is a new and exciting time, and there is a new little life to love. That is how my grandparents and their family, my Uncle Bill, my dad, Allen, and my Aunt Ruth felt, when my cousin Gene made his debut. Any of us who have been aunts, uncles, parents, or grandparents can fully understand what a special day this was.

The day was November 5, 1939, when Eugene Herman Fredrick was born. He was a gentle child, with a quiet disposition. He would grow to be a man who loved to learn about the inner working of machinery, and also a love of woodworking. He built furniture that his son, Tim would later call a legacy. Tim would inherit that love of woodworking from his dad, and I suspect that Tim’s som Daniel might too.

Gene was instrumental, along with his sons, Tim and Shawn, in helping his Uncle Bill get as far as he did on the family history. Gene was much more computer savvy than his Uncle Bill, so he was able to scan things for him and even save pictures that might otherwise have been lost forever. Uncle Bill mentions Gene fondly in several places in the family history, and was clearly devastated at his death, saying that his “grief and heartache at Gene’s loss would be very Gene Fredrick and grandson Danieldifficult to out live”. I don’t think he was alone in his intense feelings of loss, as Gene was a sweet, gentle man, who loved everyone, and was kind to all.

Gene’s greatest love on this earth was for his family. He was totally gone on his wife, Paula, and his boys, Tim and Shawn, and grandson, Daniel. His boys were his friends in so many things, sharing in his love for making things, especially wood furniture, and so many other things that would turn his sons into the wonderful men we all know today. There are many of us out there that will always miss him. Today Gene would have been 74 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Gene!! You are loved and missed very much by all who knew you.

William Malrose Spencer IMost of us don’t exactly think of the place our grandfather died as being anything that would stick in our minds, but in the case of my great grandfather, William Malrose Spencer, it would seem that it was something that the family thought of often. It wasn’t because he was murdered or anything like that either, which is something that might cause it to stick in your mind. He died a natural death, of a heart attack, after working to haul a bunch of poles up to a fence for repair and construction work he was going to do around the farm in Isabel, Missouri. The date was March 20, 1922, and my great grandfather was only 64 years old. That probably wasn’t considered young at that time, but it really is today. He had always been a hard working man, and probably didn’t take as good care of himself as he did for his family. There were seven children in the family.

By the time my great grandfather died, my grandfather was married and living in Wisconsin. He and 267my grandmother had two children, one, my Uncle Bill was only two months old at the time of his grandfather’s death. Uncle Bill had been his grandfather’s namesake…named William Malrose Spencer II. At some point, my grandfather made the trip back to Missouri to see his mother and find out what had happened. It was a sad trip…his first one home where his dad was not going to be there. I can only imagine how hard that trip was for him. His dad had always been a gentle man loved and respected by all his children. My grandfather, being the oldest and a son, had likely worked along side his dad on many of the projects he had, so I’m sure he felt like maybe if he had been there…to lighten the load or something…maybe his dad would still have been alive. It is something most children, who have lost a parent in such a fashion feel. In 265reality, there would have been nothing he could have done, but I doubt that knowing that would have helped his broken heart any.

As I look at this picture of my grandfather standing there with his mother, and the one with my Uncle Clifford with his mother, I can see by the way they were standing there that they felt such devastation. My heart breaks for both of them. Losing your dad is such a hard thing to go through, but not being there to say goodbye would be even worse. At that point, all you would have is a picture in your imagination, and someone to tell you, “It was right in that spot.”

imageTurning 13 means so many things to a kid. Their first milestone was hitting those double digits, at least in their minds, but an even bigger milestone is the one that changes them from a kid to a teenager. They begin to see the years ahead as coming quickly as they race toward adulthood and independence. Before long they will be learning to drive, and then getting their license, dating, graduating from high school, and before you know it they are married and starting their own family. The good news is that all that is still a little ways down the road, and for now he still likes to hang out with his dad…especially on imageroad trips in the semi truck.

Connor, who is my cousin, Larry Cameron’s son, had the chance to travel with his dad a short time ago. They had an amazing time traveling together to new places. Larry posted several pictures of their trip, and I found myself feeling so happy for Connor to have such a special time with his dad, and happy for Larry that he could enjoy being with his son, before Connor is all grown up. These are such fleeting moments, and so quickly gone. You want to treasure every ride, trip, and even ice cream cone that you get to share, because they are as amazing as your precious child.

Connor is the youngest of Larry’s three children, and little brother to imageNehemiah and Moira. At times, I think he is the one that keeps everyone centered. He seems to have a stabilizing effect on them. When everyone is feeling upset or mixed up, here comes Connor to say just the right thing to soothe the situation. Being the peacemaker is never a bad thing, and is, in fact, a wonderful trait to have. I see that in Connor and I know that it is a trait that will take him far…and he will have many friends along the way, because people seem to gravitate to that type of person. Connor is such a fun loving kid. He likes to see the humor in every situation. He loves a good joke, and smiles often. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to get to know him. Today, Connor is 13 years old. Happy birthday Connor!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

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